We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
The art of keeping bonsai trees is a marvelous tradition. However, it may be challenging to determine when a bonsai tree is in trouble and how to remedy any issues. We researched the signs a bonsai tree will display if it is sick, underwatered, overwatered, or stressed so you can better understand your plant. Learn how to avoid and treat root rot, the importance of pruning, and how to give your bonsai an optimal life.
There are solutions if a bonsai is struggling because of a lack of water, disease, or conditions that make it difficult to thrive. Check out the following signs that something is wrong with your bonsai and learn how to correct it.
- The tree is not rooted firmly in the pot and wiggles.
- There are wilted or drooping branches present.
- The leaves look yellow, spotted, raggedy, wilted, or drying up.
- There is a loss of leaves or needles out of season.
- The bark has a swollen appearance.
Getting comfortable with how a bonsai tree communicates its needs to stay healthy and happy for ages is essential for any plant lover.
Caring For A Bonsai Tree
Bonsai trees are very lovely and can live for centuries. However, caring for a bonsai tree can be challenging for a newbie. Not to worry, as we have covered some main problems a bonsai may develop and how to fix each one.
If you notice that your bonsai tree is gradually leaning to one side, wobbles when you move the pot, or is falling out of the pot when watering, check the roots. Root rot is usually the culprit, causing the tree’s root systems to become wet, mushy, and black. Reduce the chance of root rot by not giving the plant too much water.
Water your bonsai only when the soil feels very dry at the top. The best way to water your plant is to submerge it in water and drain off any extra moisture. When the air bubbles have stopped coming up from your pot, the plant has received enough water until next time.
If you discover loose roots, prune any damaged parts and re-pot the plant, so the tree is firmly in its container. If needed, add a support wire to help anchor the tree in the soil until the roots settle firmly in place.
Branches In Trouble
A bonsai will react to soil that is poorly drained and sorely lacking in nutrition. If the soil in a bonsai container needs more minerals or mold or mildew present from overwatering or a dirty pot, the branches will suffer.
Branches may begin to wither away, droop, become brittle, or lose their vitality. See if you need to apply a fungicide to get rid of mold, mildew, and root rot. Consider placing your bonsai in a new pot and change up your watering schedule to revive the branches.
Any dead, diseased, or damaged branches should be pruned and removed. Make sure to clean your shares to prevent transferring health issues to healthy parts of the tree.
All In The Leaves
Observe your bonsai tree, and if you notice the following problems, you can better address the symptoms.
- Yellow Leaves – Leaves that are yellow are either underwatered, overwatered, or getting too much sunlight.
- Spotted Leaves – Red, black, or brown spots are a sign of fungus. Use fungicide medication and prune sick leaves.
- Raggedy Edges – Check for an infestation of mites, aphids, or other insects taking a bite out of your bonsai.
- Wilted Leaves – The bonsai is not getting enough water, too much water, or overexposure to the sun is damaging the plant.
- Black Tips- Black-tipped leaves are a sign of overwatering, and the leaves may soon drop off.
Learn how your bonsai lets you know about its health by looking at its leaves, and act accordingly.
Every living thing has a season, so your bonsai will occasionally shed its needles or leaves. However, if a bonsai is suffering from overwatering, underwatering, disease, or is lacking enough nutrients in the soil, the leaves may drop off early.
If a bonsai has not healed after the trunk or branches were pruned or battling a disease, the bark may appear swollen. Infections and cankers under the bark can make a bonsai look poorly.
How Do I Keep My Ikea Bonsai Alive?
It is important to tend to your bonsai with regular pruning, maintain a balanced watering schedule, and ensure it has good drainage. Place your bonsai, so it gets adequate sunlight but not too much. If you discover that you have been overwatering your bonsai, remove it from its container and place it in a new container with fresh soil. If you have been underwatering your plant, examine the plant’s roots and see if the tree can be salvaged.
Routinely remove dead, diseased, or damaged leaves, roots, and branches. Inspect your bonsai for insect eggs, pests, fungus, and check the soil, so it is only slightly moist and not soggy. Be patient and learn the needs of your bonsai to keep it healthy and happy.
How Often Should I Water My Ikea Bonsai?
All Ikea bonsai trees come potted in highly nutrient-rich soil to support it for a year before it may need re-potting. It is best to let the top inch of soil in the pot dry out before the plant needs more water. Observe your plant to see how the watering schedule works for it, as stress can cause the fragile tree to lose leaves and develop health problems.
Consider watering the bonsai every two to three weeks during the Spring and Summer. In the Fall and Winter, space out your watering schedule. Water the tree only when the soil is dried out and avoid overwatering. Ikea suggests submerging the bonsai tree’s pot in water until air bubbles cease to rise to the surface. Afterward, remove any excess water and allow the pot to drain.
How Do You Tell If You Are Overwatering A Bonsai Tree?
Most bonsai trees are quite sensitive to their environment and will quickly show signs something is amiss. If you are overwatering a bonsai, you may notice leaves with black tips, or the trunk will wobble inside the pot.
Reduce the chance of overwatering your bonsai by ensuring it is in a pot with good drainage and well-draining soil. Don’t water your bonsai too often, and allow the topmost layer of the soil to dry before considering watering again.
How Do I Know If My Bonsai Tree Has Root Rot?
If you pull your bonsai out of its pot to re-pot it or inspect it for disease, you may discover root rot. Typically, root rot is apparent when a bonsai has black-colored roots. Healthy bonsai roots should be similar in color to the tree bark and not mushy, wilted, or wet.
Fix root rot by deftly removing any diseased roots, making sure not to touch any healthy roots with your pruning shears. Re-pot the bonsai in a cleaned-out pot with fresh soil to prevent the transfer of any fungus or disease.
Will Bonsai Leaves Grow Back?
If your bonsai tree has suffered a lot of setbacks due to overwatering, fungus, or neglect, the chances of the leaves growing back may be slim. The most important thing is to check out your bonsai for dried-out or rotting roots. If the roots are not in horrible shape and can be pruned and revived, chances are the bonsai will regain its foliage anew.
Give a struggling bonsai a chance by re-potting it in fresh soil, lightly watering it, pruning damaged areas, and putting it in a space with natural light.
What Do I Do If I Overwatered My Ikea Bonsai?
Don’t panic if you overwatered your bonsai, as you may still be able to save it. Remove the plant from the container and re-pot it in a clean, dry container. Allow the soil to dry out before you submerge the tree the next time it needs watering. Prune any damaged or diseased roots before re-potting.
We hope that you leave feeling more confident about caring for your bonsai. Remember, bonsai trees are very sensitive to their environment, watering, and need routine pruning. Common health issues for bonsai often show in their leaves, branches, bark, and roots. Most bonsai dealing with fungus, disease, or other problems can be easily solved.
If a bonsai’s roots are too dried out or damaged, it may not revive after potting the plant in a new container with fresh soil. Learn to work with your bonsai and enjoy it for generations.
Before you go, check out the following articles of interest: